Support to partnerships between Danish companies and companies in partner countries has in various forms been an element of the Danish development cooperation since 1993, initially under the Private Sector Development Programme, subsequently under the Business-to-Business (B2B) Programme and latest under the Danida Business Partnership Programme.
In general terms, the Danida support in this area aims at achieving development outcomes by supporting business development in a range of partner countries through the promotion of long-term and mutually committing partnerships between Danish companies and companies in partner countries.
The Danida support to business partnerships, since 2011 named Danida Business Partnerships (DBP), is an element of the Danish support to economic development as reflected in the Strategic Framework for Growth and Employment (Danida 2011).
In addition to DBP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is subsidising loans for development activities, mainly infrastructure, under the initiative Danida Business Finance (DBF, formerly Danida mixed credits). The bilateral development cooperation within the priority area of private sector development also includes sector programme support in Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. Furthermore, Danida provides funding to a number of initiatives which were initiated by the Africa Commission (2009) and the Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries, which acts as an adviser and co-investor for Danish enterprises’ investments in developing countries.
A strategic framework for growth and employment guiding Danida development cooperation in this area was established in 2011. Prior to this, the area was guided by the overall development strategy “Partnership 2000” and the “Action plan for private sector development (2006)”.
Business partnerships were supported by Danida through the B2B Programme from July 2006 to June 2011 replacing the Danida Private Sector Development Programme. With the B2B Programme the developmental outcomes of the programme were emphasised, and more requirements in terms of project documentation and results measurement were introduced. Furthermore, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme and, later, the Innovative Partnerships for Development (IPD) Programme were introduced supporting public private partnerships and partnerships that advance strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible innovation.
According to the B2B Company Guidelines (last version: Danida, 2010), the overall objective of the B2B Programme was to contribute to poverty reduction by promoting economic growth and social development in developing countries. The immediate objective was to promote the establishment of long-term, sustainable and commercially viable partnerships between companies in developing countries and Danish companies, with an aim of strengthening local business development. The B2B Programme encouraged companies in developing countries and in Denmark to form such long-term, sustainable and commercially viable partnerships and supported each partnership with advice and finance. The focus of this support was to ensure a transfer of knowhow and technology from the Danish partner to the local partners thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the local partner and by that, their local and international market presence. In turn, by partnering with a local company, the Danish company could gain access to new markets, raw materials and reduced production costs.
The B2B Programme supported the establishment of contact between companies and the establishment and implementation of partnerships, normally up to a period of five years. The B2B Programme support was divided into three phases: Contact phase, pilot phase and project phase. During the contact phase, the matching process was supported by helping Danish companies to identify suitable companies in the partner country, and vice versa, and by co-funding study visits, workshops, meetings, etc. Until April 2008, the Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises was contracted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist companies in approaching the programme and in the matchmaking process. In the pilot phase, the B2B Programme funded expenses related to studies and the establishment of pilot projects of up to two years’ duration. By the end of the pilot phase, the concept for business cooperation should be developed. Based on this concept, and a new application, the B2B Programme provided funding for the project phase related to training, environmental efficiency, CSR activities, establishment and, to a more limited extent, equipment of the partnership. The Danida share of funding was normally 90% of the cost in all phases, except for studies (75%) and for equipment (25% for normal equipment and 90% for equipment related to environmental aspects). All projects were required to include CSR/ environmental activities in their project proposal. The maximum amount of support for a partnership was DKK 5 million aggregated for all phases of support. It should be noted that B2B guidelines were modified during the period of implementation.
The B2B Programme operated in developing countries with programmatic development cooperation with Denmark, the so-called Danida programme countries, including Egypt and South Africa. Of these countries, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam were considered focus countries of the programme. Furthermore, the programme was operating in China and Indonesia where only partnerships related to the environmental sector were supported.
The Department for Green Growth in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responsible for policy, coordination and guidelines, whereas the implementation and administration was delegated to the Danish embassies. Full-time B2B coordinators were responsible for the day to day implementation at the embassies in the focus countries.
The total number of projects supported in the project phase is estimated to be around 250 and the total amount disbursed on these projects to date is approximately DKK 756 million. Additionally, between DKK 10 and 20 million have been spent annually for marketing and administration of the programme. The total grant amounts and disbursements for the programme are indicated in Table 1 below.
* Note: Disbursements are recorded in the year the grant was committed regardless of the actual year of disbursement.
The Business-to-Business Programme in South Africa was evaluated in 2000 and the Danida Private Sector Development Programme was evaluated in 2001 (Danida, 2001). A meta-evaluation of Danida private and business sector development interventions was undertaken in 2004. Furthermore, the Danida country evaluations of development cooperation with Ghana (Danida, 2008a) and Mozambique (Danida 2008b) included aspects of the PSD/B2B Programme. Furthermore, a synthesis of evaluations on support to business development was prepared in 2009 (Danida, 2009). A desk review of the “Action Plan for private sector development” was undertaken in 2010.
The Evaluation will focus on both accountability and learning. The Evaluation has a dual purpose of assessing and documenting the B2B Programme as well as providing lessons for future implementation of Danida Business Partnerships.
The Evaluation will document what has worked well and less well in the achievement of the results using both quantitative and qualitative data. The Evaluation is expected to assess the support provided with regards to its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Furthermore, the Evaluation will identify the most important factors in the programme context and in relation to the characteristics of beneficiary companies that affect the programme achievements, and assess their importance.
The Evaluation will cover appropriations made under the B2B Programme from July 2006 to June 2011. In some countries, PSD Programme appropriations made just prior to the introduction of the B2B Programme were converted to B2B projects and implemented according to the B2B guidelines. Furthermore, some embassies continued to approve B2B projects in second half of 2011. These few additional projects will also be included in the Evaluation. The evaluation will furthermore take into consideration the changes made under the present programme, Danida Business Partnerships, in order to assess the changes under this programme in relation to partner selection and characteristics of participating companies. Recommendations should, as far as possible, be directed towards the present programme, Danida Business Partnerships, and it is therefore expected that the Evaluation Team will familiarize themselves with the procedures for this programme.
The Danish finance bill budget line for the B2B Programme is 6.32.05.12 which also includes Public Private Partnerships, Innovative Partnerships for Development, Danish support to Global Compact and other funding initiatives related to business development. Only the B2B Programme and expenses related to the management and administration of the programme is included in this Evaluation. B2B projects in contact phase, pilot phase and project phase will be included in the analysis, but when assessing impact and sustainability, focus will be on B2B projects in the project phase.
The Evaluation will cover the B2B Programme globally and analysis will be undertaken across the entire portfolio. Field work will be undertaken in Bangladesh and Uganda and furthermore an additional number of B2B projects (approximately 30) will be selected for desk case studies.
The overall evaluation questions to be answered by this Evaluation are the following:
- To what extent and how has the B2B Programme contributed to poverty reduction by creating growth and employment in Danida partner countries?
- What lessons can be learned for improved design, implementation monitoring and management of future Danish support to strengthen local business development through partnerships with Danish businesses?
The Evaluation will apply OECD/DAC’s five criteria: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability to answer the key evaluation questions through a number of detailed questions, some of which are listed according to these criteria below.
It is acknowledged that causal links at outcome and impact level may be difficult to establish and that developments at this level are influenced by numerous factors and may evolve in a non-linear manner. The evaluation analysis should take these factors into account, but should nevertheless – where possible – document outcomes and the wider impact of the programme.
The relevance of the overall B2B Programme objectives to Danida policies and to partner country policies should be assessed, but emphasis should be given to programme relevance at a lower and more concrete level in at least the following two aspects:
- To which extent was the B2B Programme relevant for addressing the constraints of private sector companies in the partner countries?
- To which extent did the programme stimulate the creation of international partnerships that would not otherwise have occurred?
- How appropriate was the B2B Programme for – through partnerships between Danish and partner country companies – promoting the overall objectives of Danida support in relation to private sector development, i.e. poverty reduction through private sector growth and employment.
Due to the difficulties in establishing credible data for results at programme level and the lack of benchmarking data, the efficiency at the overall programme level is difficult to establish, and the efficiency assessment will therefore focus on specific issues, including:
- How efficient were the instruments used by the B2B Programme to establish the initial contact between companies in Denmark and in the partner countries (“matchmaking”) and how can this effort be strengthened in future Danida support to establishing long-term, sustainable and commercially viable partnerships between companies in developing countries and Danish companies?
- Under which circumstances did the B2B Programme provide the best results in terms of achieving its objectives in relation to inputs (programme costs)? The response is expected to be based on a comparative analysis of the programme achievements between B2B projects with differences in external factors influencing the programme (local economic factors, enabling environment, sector, etc).
- To which extent was the administration and management of the programme well-balanced between ensuring control of public funds, providing easy access for private companies and providing the framework for an efficient use of Danida/ embassy administrative resources?
- Is the documentation and monitoring system of the programme, and the way it has been administered, a useful basis for assessing progress and documenting results at individual project level, country level and programme level?
Effectiveness is assessed at the following three levels, which relate to specific steps in the theory of change. Where relevant, considerations regarding the counterfactual should be included by testing alternative hypotheses of change and by giving consideration to additionality, i.e. the type of activities pursued with the B2B Programme support that would not have been pursued without the support.
- A number of companies engaged in a preliminary partnership in the contact phase or pilot phase did not take the cooperation further in an actual partnership project. Did any specific factors (for instance company type, motivation, financial incentives, power relationship between partners, type of partnership project, or other) systematically come into play in this process, and how can the rate of companies establishing successful partnerships be increased?
- To which extent and under which circumstances did the support under the B2B Programme lead to adoption of new knowledge or technology in the partner company?
- To which extent did the partnership, through the adoption of new knowledge or technology or otherwise, lead to an improved performance, increased employment and/or increased turnover of the local partner company?
- To which extent did the support under the B2B Programme lead to improved occupational health and safety conditions for employees?
- What was the effectiveness of environmental improvements and CSR activities introduced as part of B2B projects, or otherwise improved conditions for employees or the wider population?
In terms of longer term development effects, the Evaluation should assess both intended and unintended, positive and negative effects of the programme intervention, including:
- To which extent, and under which circumstances, have partnerships been continued beyond the period supported by the B2B Programme, and has there been a transition to other Danida support from sector programmes, mixed credit (Danida Business Finance) or the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU)?
- What were the longer term effects of the B2B partnership on the development of the local partner business, and were there any factors in the country context or company type systematically influencing the longer-term effects?
- What were the longer term effects of the B2B partnership on the Danish partner company in terms of other international strategic alliances, increased access to markets, improved competitiveness, or other? Have this led to other Danish companies investing in international strategic alliances?
- Who has benefitted from the programme and has there been a counterproductive selection bias related to gender, population groups, geography, or other factors.
- To which extent did the programme contribute to poverty reduction, increased employment and growth, both directly through the partner company and indirectly through market changes and effects on the wider economy?
- Were there any discernible longer term effects beyond the local partnership company at national level, sector level or in the local vicinity of the local partnership company in terms of technology adoption, CSR, environmental aspects, occupational health and safety, or other?
- What was the impact of the programme in terms of poverty reduction or sustained changes in livelihood for the people directly affected by the programme through employment, capacity development or CSR activities?
The Evaluation is expected to prepare recommendations to the future implementation of Danida Business Partnerships programme on the basis of the way it is currently being implemented, i.e. taking into account the recent (2013) modifications of the DBP programme guidelines.
The Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Danida Evaluation Guidelines (January 2012) and the OECD/DAC Evaluation Quality Standards (2010). The Evaluation must be based on a sound methodology. The Evaluation design must be methodologically rigorous and credible when judging both the internal and external validity of the results.
Bidders are free to propose the most appropriate designs for responding to the evaluation questions indicated above. This section provides some initial thinking on the proposed approach and methodology which will need to be further developed by the Evaluation Team in the technical proposal and in the inception report through concrete and practical solutions.
The Evaluation may find some inspiration in the literature on international strategic alliances, which is defined as a mutually beneficial agreement between at least two partners in which resources, knowledge, and capabilities are shared with the objective of enhancing the competitive position of each partner. (Hansen, H., Klejnstrup, N.R. and Rand, J., 2013). Business partnerships are sometimes considered a mechanism for coping with risk of engaging in new activities. Some strategic alliances are established to facilitate easier access or to create new markets, whereas other alliances may seek to protect existing market positions and share the financial risk of introducing a new expensive technology, which is an investment needed to maintain current market power. Firms may also engage in strategic alliances for efficiency reasons and seek to gain economies of scale by sharing processes and/or production capabilities. As part of these processes business partnerships are often argued to facilitate learning spill overs, which may take place through immediate transfer of new innovative technology or through financial, marketing and production process channels. However, as emphasized in the technology transfer literature there may be limits to these learning effects depending on the nature of the alliance.
For instance, the Evaluation will look into whether the strategy and the motivation behind the decision to enter into business alliances under the B2B Programme are factors influencing the degree of success of the partnership (as included in the evaluation questions above).
Preparatory studies on monitoring data available for the B2B Programme and on the methodological considerations for the Evaluation (Broegaard & Broegaard, 2013) conclude that the data material does not allow for statistical analysis of programme results. Additionally, the counterfactual situation cannot be established in a convincing manner. In terms of effectiveness and impact, it appears to be most feasible to evaluate whether and under which circumstances the B2B Programme interventions worked as intended and led to positive effects. The Evaluation will therefore focus on a theory-based context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) approach. The evaluation questions above are based on this approach and focusing on specific topics of interest in view of the purpose of the Evaluation. The enclosed diagrammatic outline of the theory of change of the B2B Programme is used as the basis for defining the focus of the Evaluation and should be used and refined further in the course of the Evaluation. The intervention logic includes a number of contextual factors and assumptions which may be changed, confirmed or ranked by the Evaluation Team, thereby establishing a solid theory of change to add to the future understanding of the programme. It is expected to be possible to carry out a systematic analysis of a number of different context-mechanism-outcome configurations.
While aiming at solidifying the broad quantitative foundation as far as possible, a core of case based analysis is called for. This may again build on both qualitative and quantitative information and should have a comparative character. The analysis of cases should where possible identify relative comparison cases and a systematic comparison across different CMO constellations. If results data can be reliably established for the case studies, this may allow for considering different levels of success as part of the basisfor comparison.
The following elements will be required in the overall methodology:
- A review of the relevant academic literature and of the available programme documentation. The literature review will serve as an input to determining factors in the country context that should be included in the Evaluation and what type of factors in relation to the companies that would be relevant to include in the Evaluation.
- On the basis of the portfolio overview and the existing monitoring data, an analysis should be undertaken at portfolio level according to specific factors in the country context and in the characteristics of beneficiary companies.
- Interviews with key stakeholders in Denmark and in the selected partner countries, including amongst others the relevant departments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, the Confederation of Danish Industry, relevant Industry Associations and relevant government departments in the two field countries.
- E-survey administered to business partners. The E-survey should be used to investigate issues such as their motivation for joining the programme, their assessment of the administrative procedures, the possible effects of the B2B project and the further development of their business after the support has ended. An E-survey may also be directed towards business partners who only participated in contact phase/pilot phase in order to establish characteristics of companies that did not proceed to the project phase. The exact scope and purpose of the E-survey(s) should be determined during the process in agreement with EVAL.
- Focus group discussions (at least two) among Danish business partners to validate findings of the e-survey.
- Field studies for in-depth case studies in Bangladesh and Uganda. The field countries have been selected on the basis of their considerable number of projects and because they are expected to represent a great variety of project cases and of context configurations. During field studies, case studies involving interviews should be undertaken with a sample of not less than 75% of the B2B projects having reached project phase in each of the field countries. The studied cases should be selected on the basis of a systematic and deliberate sampling strategy that amongst others include size of local company, geographical location and industrial sector. Achievement of project targets and reasons for deviations should be investigated during the field trip.
A sample of local companies that have engaged in contact or pilot phase, but not in the project phase should be interviewed in order to assess the factors causing them to discontinue the partnership. Furthermore, interviews should be undertaken with programme stakeholders, government and local business associations in order to establish knowledge regarding the national context of the programme.
Where possible, examples of non-supported businesses engaging in international strategic alliances in the two countries should be selected and investigated in the same parameters as the B2B cases in order to discern any marked differences.
The Evaluation Team is expected to interview both responsible embassy staff and partners on their use of the monitoring system and the indicators. It is envisaged that two core team members and one country specific team member participate in each of the two country field visits. Follow-up field work may be required by country specific team members.
- Desk-based case studies supplemented with interviews of Danish partners, video conference with relevant B2B coordinators and possibly other stakeholders involved in the project. The selection of specific projects will be done using a systematic and deliberate sampling strategy, based on the information established during the field studies and the portfolio analysis. The size of the sample is envisaged to be around 30 projects and will be decided on the basis of criteria agreed with EVAL. Based on the initial overview, and the suggested approach it is suggested that the sample should include:
- A variety of country context, i.e. with regards to
- Level of economic development (within the range of the B2B countries)
- Enabling environment for business development
- Exposure to international markets
- Level of economic development (within the range of the B2B countries)
- A variety of partnerships, i.e. with regards to
- Characteristics of partners (size, activities, etc.)
- Prior basis for establishing partnerships (prior knowledge or not; how contact was established between partners, motivation for entering the programme, etc.)
- Types of specific objectives for the partnership, in line with the variation mentioned above.
- Characteristics of partners (size, activities, etc.)
- Different performance patterns
- From aborted attempts to top performers – and those in between (based on data from the B2B-Indicator Report and progress reports). It should be considered to include a specific analysis of the “best cases”, to assess whether they have any common characteristics.
Preferably, cases identified during field visits of companies that have entered into inter national partnerships without support should be included in the analysis, in order to have a more complete set of variations in the context-mechanism-outcome configurations.
 Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia.
 The number of projects being supported in project phase is approximately 16 for Bangladesh and 25 for Uganda.Top